Clark, McCarty take individual titles –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Not always do the favorites in a tournament come out on top, but in this year’s Southern Hills Athletic Conference golf tourneys, that was absolutely the case. Going into both the girls and boys events, the teams for West Union High School were prohibitive favorites and the Dragons did not disappoint as both of their squads rolled to conference titles.
The SHAC girls tournament was a two-day, 18-hole event (Sept. 16 and 23) and though the individual leader board changed from one day to the next, the team scores didn’t as the Lady Dragons held an 21-stroke advantage after the first day of play at Hilltop, then stretched that out to a 48-stroke conference championship after day two at Buckeye Hills.
It is fairly obvious that your team might win a title when you have five of the top 10 golfers in the tournaments, which is exactly what the Lady Dragons had, led by this year’s SHAC Girls Champion, sophomore Alex Clark. Clark, who was two strokes off the pace and in third place after the first nine holes of action, rallied to shoot a 41 on the second day, good enough to propel her up two spots and make her the SHAC’s best for 2016, with a two-day score of 85.
Clark’s teammate DeAnna Caraway finished as tourney runner-up, having a tough day with a 49 overall, but still holding on to a second place tie with Eastern Brown’s Payton Dorsey, both with two day totals of 92. The leader after round one was West Union’s Mackenzie Smith, but she just had “one of those days” on Friday at Buckeye Hills. Shooting a 57 to drop her to ninth overall. The Lady Dragons placed two more in the top 10, Lucy Kersey fourth with her total score of 93 and Lindsey Daniel eighth with 98.
Two more Adams County golfers placed in the top 10, all of whom were named to the All-SHAC Team. North Adams’s Caitlin Young and Peebles’ Savannah McCoy both shot 95 for the 18-hole tourney, good enough for All-SHAC recognition.
The boys’ tournament is a little more complicated, being an four-day 36-hole competition, but it wasn’t that complicated for West Union’s Elijah McCarty, who led from wire to wire to become the 2016 SHAC Boys Individual Champion. McCarty’s four day totals (34-37-38-37) were good enough for a 10-stroke win over teammate Craig Horton and Manchester’s Logan Hayslip.
Since the boys’ tourney is two days longer, the All-SHAC Team is larger, with the top 15 golfers )16 this year because of ties) earning that recognition and Adams County was well-represented as usual. Besides McCarty and Horton, the Dragons placed three more golfers on the All-SHAC squad, Jacob Pell, Tyler Fowler, and Eli Fuller. North Adams was represented by Noah Lung, Patrick England, Bryant Lung, and Colt Shumaker, and Manchester also added Dylan Colvin, giving the county 11 of the 16 All-SHAC spots.
The All-SHAC golfers will be honored at the SHAC Fall Sports Awards on Oct. 31.
In the team standings, West Union closed out the fourth day of play, round four being at Buckeye Hills, by adding 11 more strokes to their advantage, which continually grew as the tourney progressed. The Dragons ended up grabbing the SHAC title by 30 strokes over second place North Adams, with Ripley placing third, and Manchester fourth.
All of the county golf squads now point their focus towards the postseason, with sectional play beginning earlier this week and the West Union boys team looking for a return trip to the state tournament in Columbus. Look for reports on the postseason play in future issues of The People’s Defender.
SHAC Final Girls Team Scores: West Union 359, Eastern Brown 407, North Adams 441, Fairfield 456. Peebles 484, Lynchburg 596
Girls All-SHAC Team: Clark (West Union), Caraway (West Union), Dorsey (E. Brown), Kersey (West Union), Young (N. Adams), McCoy (Peebles), Broughton (E. Brown), Daniel (West Union), Smith (West Union ), Schuler (Fairfield)
SHAC Final Boys Team Scores: West Union 630, North Adams 660, Ripley 699, Manchester 711, Whiteoak 772, Eastern Brown 782, Lynchburg 799, Fairfield 819
Boys All-SHAC Team: McCarty (west Union), Horton (West Union), Hayslip (Manchester), N. Lung (N. Adams), England (N. Adams), Pell (West Union), Phillips (Ripley), Johnson (E. Brown), B. Lung (N. Adams), Fowler (West Union), Dunn (Ripley), Ott (Ripley), Colvin (Manchester), Fuller (West Union), McLaughlin (Lynchburg), Shumaker (N. Adams)